Nedelin Catastrophe: The Worst Space-Related Disaster

The Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan is one of the busiest and the most important spaceport on earth with over a thousand satellite launches under its belt and more than one hundred fifty launches with human crews. As the oldest spaceport, Baikonur Cosmodrome is steeped in history, being behind many milestone space missions, like the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 in 1957, the first spacecraft (Luna 1) to reach the moon in 1959, the first human in the space, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961, and the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963. Understandably, the Baikonur Cosmodrome have had its share of disappointments and disasters, the most notable among which is the so-called Nedelin catastrophe, which remains the deadliest space exploration related disaster in history.

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